What irony. The Prime Minister of Ukraine met with President Obama and asked for weapons support — but instead he got MREs (Meal Ready to Eat or as we called them Meals Refused by Everyone). Now after visiting with the Saudi King, Obama is considering a change in policy for arming the Syrian rebel forces — Sunni Islamists.
According to ABC, “The Obama administration is considering allowing shipments of new air defense systems to Syrian rebels. President Barack Obama’s possible shift would likely be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which has been pressing the White House to allow shoulder-launched surface to air missiles, also known as man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, into Syria.
Allowing MANPADS to be delivered to Syrian rebels would mark a shift in strategy for the U.S., which until this point has limited its lethal assistance to small weapons and ammunition, as well as humanitarian aid. The U.S. has been grappling for ways to boost the rebels, who have lost ground in recent months, allowing Syrian President Bashar Assad to regain a tighter grip on the war-torn nation.The actual MANPAD shipments could come from the Saudis, who have so far held off sending in the equipment because of U.S. opposition.
I ponder what the difference is between supporting Ukraine and the Islamist forces in Syria? Isn’t in interesting how President Obama has shown an inclination to support Islamists as he as “pivoted away” strategically from the Middle East. He supported the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi. He supported Islamists in their takeover in Libya – and by the way, his actions there were in violation of the Wars Powers Act. And when was the last time you heard anything about Iran’s nuclear program cessation?
I hope we’re not so shortsighted to forget that 35 years ago the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. We sided with the Mujahedeen and provided them Stinger missile systems. Of course one of those Mujahids was a tall Saudi named Osama Bin Laden.
According to ABC, the president is not expected to announce a final decision on the matter during his overnight trip to the Gulf kingdom. As recently as February, the administration had said Obama remained opposed to any shipments of MANPADS to the Syrian opposition. The U.S. has been concerned that the weaponry could fall into the wrong hands and possibly be used to shoot down a commercial airliner – gee, ya think??
Among the reasons for Obama’s shift in thinking is the greater understanding the U.S. now has about the composition of the Syrian rebels, an Obama administration official said. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the internal deliberations by name and insisted on anonymity.
The window of opportunity to make any effect in Syria has long since closed. And I would hope President Obama would consult with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu about issuing shoulder-launched MANPADS to fighters aligned with al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood. With Obama, actions always speak far louder than rhetoric.
And how many times did Obama state, “Assad must go.” Gee, I wonder what color that line is now?